Palliative care is often discussed in terms of holistic care, and of a patient and family-centred approach. This broad, whole of person approach to care is best delivered by a interdisciplinary team who can support patients and families who may have physical, functional, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual care needs.
An interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary team will mean different things to different services. For some it will mean having many specialist palliative care practitioners involved in the service itself. This could be Pastoral Care Workers, Social Workers, Music Therapists, Bereavement Counsellors or Occupational Therapists. For others it will mean referring to health professionals within the same organisation or health service, such as a hospital physiotherapist. For some in more rural and remote areas this referral to other disciplines may be difficult with long waiting lists and distances to travel for appointments.
Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) online learning modules on The multidisciplinary team
For the specialist palliative care team the term 'interdisciplinary team' is commonly used and is a common model of practice. An interdisciplinary team is that which has roles that sometimes overlap between disciplines and generally the team will share information and work interdependently. While the patient and family may only see one or two members of the team, those members will be supported by the interdisciplinary team in which they practice.
Visit Cancer Australia’s website for All about Multidisciplinary care
Read the MND Australia Fact Sheet on Multidisciplinary care (2019)
Access more Interdisciplinary Team resources
Last updated 20 August 2021